THUNDER BAY – The local phone company is giving $500,000 to support cardiovascular surgery at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
Dan Topatigh, president of Tbaytel, on Monday said it was a great way for the municipally owned utility to give back to the community.
“Tbaytel is extremely proud to be providing such a significant gift to this much needed, long-awaited program. Having access to care and services in our own neighbourhood of Thunder Bay and throughout Northwestern Ontario, is vitally important and partnerships are key to building what we need right here at home,” Topatigh said in a release.
Under a deal with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the province has committed to cover 90 per cent of the construction costs.
It’s up to the hospital and the community to come up with the other 10 per cent, as well 100 per cent of the capital equipment costs.
It’s believed the hospital foundation is seeking in the neighbourhood of $10 million.
It’s money well spent said executive vice-president of patient services Mark Henderson.
“Our region is one where a large percentage of the population faces serious medical issues, Henderson said.
“Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in our region and our amputation rate is almost 3 times that of the rest of Ontario. This is specifically prevalent in our Indigenous community - meaning that local access to vascular surgery is critically important for our patients because they are losing limbs due to the lack of vascular surgery.”
According to Henderson, once fully operational, the program will be able to service up to 1,000 patients a year, improving access to urgent and emergent cardiac surgery.
“Thanks to Tbaytel, we will be able to move ahead with the program to bring cardiovascular surgery services to our Hospital and serve patients and families here locally.”
The vice chair of the fundraising campaign, Eric Zakrewski, says the money will transform and save lives.
We are exceptionally grateful to Tbaytel for providing their generosity and support of this program.”
“Tbaytel has been a part of our family of donors to the Hospital for quite some time. Today, they’re actively ensuring that families across Northwestern Ontario can be together – before, during and after surgery. Not only that, thousands of people in Northwestern Ontario will live longer, better lives thanks to the generosity they’ve shown today.”
The program is expected to be up and running by 2020.